According to recent surveys, 47% of the overall population in Pakistan are below the age of 35 years or less. That means we should not hesitate to assume that five out of every ten people should be considered as a member of the Millennial OR Generation Z clans. Most of the retailers and service-oriented businesses in Pakistan must be dealing with the younger generation more rather than the head of the families (abbu, dada, dadi..) as in the old times. Therefore we are discussing the key facts and recommendations Pakistani SMB’s should consider while marketing their business and selling it to the largest ever youth population in its history of Pakistan.
Who are the Pakistani millennials?
Pakistan’s millennial population is as vibrant and influential as any other country. They are well aware of global issues. They care for innovation and feel responsible for not only themselves but also about their environment. The characteristics mentioned here refer to millennials worldwide.
For a better understanding of millennials and how they’ve been affected by influencer marketing, we need to take a step back and understand millennials in general. People born between the 1980’s to mid-1990’s are called millennials merely because they saw the millennium change. The generation born after 1995 referred to as ‘generation z’. They are not just a bunch of opinionated ‘kids these days’ but a generation that appreciates diverse thoughts and is compassionate towards the rest of the world. A generic sense of entitlement and openmindedness is generally observed among these people which is a product of circumstance and not of choice.
Pakistan’s millennials care about innovation and feel responsible for not only themselves but also their environment.
Many local businesses ignore the fact that Pakistan is stationed with a diverse and strongly opinionated youth. This is the very generation that stood witness to the tech boom and internet culture, the 2007-8 recession and also the war of terror. Pakistani millennials have somehow managed to make their country proud despite the upheavals they have been through, over the years.
139.2 million People use cell phones in Pakistan. The population is getting used to smartphones and the easily accessible world of the internet. For millennials, being tech-savvy is innate. They grew up with iPhones and Facebook being a part of their life. The cell phone is a lifeline to this generation and spending even an hour without the internet is a struggle with their conscious.
Globalization has not only broadened the horizons for the millennials but has made them tolerant. Mental health, the pay gap, and feminism are not taboos to this generation. Whereas racism, any form of fascism and discrimination is abhorred explicitly. Multiculturalism has been at an all-time high in the last two decades. The baby boomers’ mindset does not rule millennial lives.
Ways to reach out to Pakistani Millennials
The millennials are socially conscious. They care for the environment and seek sustainability more than anything. This was visible during the 2018 elections in Pakistan and the youth’s consistent participation. They spend a vast majority of their free time on social media and seek validation by the online interactions they have with absolute strangers, friends and family. Social networking sites have played an integral role in global awareness and connectivity.
15-20 million people from Generation Z is regularly online on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The trends and troubles happening worldwide are well known to these folks. Millennials are comfortable to get influenced by visual marketing. Their usage of filesharing sites such as YouTube has made it easier for marketers worldwide to collaborate with YouTubers and influencers on other platforms for pitching their products.
Long gone are the days of televised advertisements that endorsed products the celebrity would never have touched before the shoot. Millennials don’t buy things on face value; they research a product online. Looking things up on the internet provides personal reviews which help clear any doubts a customer may have. If a brand has any involvement with trouble, it is likely to be banished by the customers because of their knowledge via social networks.
The power of influencer marketing in Pakistan
Millennials prefer to buy products referred to them by their favorite digital stars and influencers. Brands need to understand that around half of Pakistan’s population is millennial. These people are prone to traditional advertising and do not trust it. Let’s take a look at the ways in which millennials are convinced:
1- Social media influencers
Social media influencers play a crucial role here. People like Sumayah Hassan from Super Sumayah, Shehzeen Rehman from The Desi Wonder Woman, Irfan Junejo from Youtube and Daniyal Qureshi from Metronome on Facebook, all engage with their audience via their platforms. The people love them, and their reviews matter not only to the companies pitching products but also its potential customers.
2- Exclusive groups and forums
The power of social media and influencers among millennials is phenomenal. Secret or closed groups on Facebook has exponentially made it easier for companies to reach their target audience. The admins and prominent member of groups like Soul sisters Pakistan and Sheops are prime examples. Kanwal Anes Ahmed, admin of Soul Sisters Pakistan and Nadia Patel the CEO of Sheops are well-recognized figures among the Pakistani urban women.
Sheops began as a group of women buying and selling in a safe environment. But with the search for innovation and creativity among the Pakistani millennials and the undeniable power of social media influencers, it skyrocketed and became a globally recognized venture.
3- Well thought out marketing campaigns:
Influencers make brands accessible to the millennial population. Clothing brands like Generation Pk has cracked the code of millennial interests. Their marketing campaigns that revolve around diversity and body positivity has helped made it among the youth.
Instant credibility and improved brand awareness are easily seen if a product pitched by influencers. All you need to do is, contact an influence and let them speak to their followers positively about your product. Within a few minutes, an influx of new customers and potentially loyal audiences will come to you.
4- Subtle yet effective product placement
The subtle art of silent product placements and not so blatant advertising makes the younger population gravitate towards these products. They look for themes and context. The introduction of discount codes and freebies makes it a win-win situation and creates brand loyalty. Many companies selling cute stationery, emerging clothing companies, etc have contacted influencers like Humna Raza for pitching their product. Youtubers like Anushae and Khadeja have been setting examples for millennial women who are enthusiastic about makeup and beauty. Their PR unboxing videos and review about brands push the young women to consume the same products.
5- Viral trends
Milleniala are often caught in the whirlwind of viral trends. heir tastes are bound to be a little eccentric according to the middleaged eyes. You’ll see them buying a fidget spinner one day and exorbitantly priced skin-care the next. Forbes states that $200 billion is spent by millennials globally on a yearly basis. These millennials are changing the face of marketing, and their search for innovation seems to be unending.
The scripted televised ads don’t attract them since their time is spent on Netflix. Print media seems to fail too since millennials are almost, always on the go and prefer to do things online. The said audience has consistently liked Etribune and forums like Mangobaaz.
Understanding the millennial mindset to sell successfully
Being an influencer is different as compared to being a celebrity. An influence spends a lot of time curating their content and cultivating their audience. Therefore they cannot risk letting people down. So the majority would not promote bogus content. On the other hand, a celebrity wouldn’t mind selling things by their face.
Brands need to understand that this youth will be in charge in the next few years. They will be heading HR departments and make decisions about pensioners and welfare facilities. This socially conscious and opinionated audience does not hesitate in breaking tradition. The world is changing and so is marketing.
Social media marketing and SEO cannot be ignored, but the search for validation would always make the millennials choose something that was personally advised. The human brain is a visual processor. Things subtly placed in the background are more like to be appreciated than a blatant advertisement on the television. The millennial mindset needs to be understood, and the influencers need to be recognized since the Pakistani youth is soon to be the torchbearers of the nation.